Inkspill and octopi

This coming weekend, I will be one of 3 guest writers for an online writing retreat, Inkspill, organised by Nina Lewis. I’ll be adding my own perspective to the mix, along with Charlie Jordan and William Gallagher Want some inspiration for your writing? Take a look:

Nina asked me to send her a biography. You might think I would have one to send ‘off the peg’, but it just doesn’t work like that. Every biog I have ever sent out has been different from all the others. This is partly because there are so many facets to my professional life, and not all of these are relevant at the same time.  I can’t help comparing myself to an octopus.

While you ponder on that idea, here’s an octopus poem I wrote after watching a family eating together in a restaurant.

The feeding of octopi

The octopus family
have tentacles twenty
food is plentiful
all is quiet until
plates are empty

when table quivers
upholstery shivers
as octopus babies
lie on their backs
their tentacles rising

they writhe and wriggle
as octopus mom
and octopus dad
slither and grab
trapped in the middle

© Heather Wastie

Perhaps this poem should have had 8 lines per stanza instead of 5. Anyway the line “trapped in the middle” echoes how I sometimes feel trying to keep track of so many creative tentacles!

A far from Idle Woman

Heather Wastie - Idle Women & Judies 2

I was overwhelmed by the wonderful feedback I received after my performances as an Idle Woman on Sunday at Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum. The photo above was taken at the National Waterways Museum, Gloucester where I’ll be performing on Saturday November 8th. The piece was commissioned by the Canal & River Trust and is now available for bookings elsewhere!

Idle Women and Judies by Heather Wastie

Performances at Stoke Bruerne
Sunday 28th September 2014


Absolutely fantastic. Now have a better understanding of women’s role on the boats. Can’t wait for the audio.
Mr & Mrs Roberts, Soham, Ely Cambs

Was great story especially knowing it was real. Sounded very life like, and it was like being there and feeling how the women were feeling. A new life for them in more of a man’s domain. Fantastic.
Belton Family from New Zealand

A lovely performance full of feeling – thank you.
The Richardsons from Lincoln

Very interesting and informative. Very well done!

Very interesting and educated. Thank you.
Isaac Smith age 10

It was very entertaining.
Iona Smith age 8

Very informative and moving.

Fascinating insight into a bygone age.

Learnt new things about ‘Idle Women’ in the WW2. So v. educational. As a woman & new to owning a narrow boat I wish there was an Idle Woman around to teach me her hands on skills!
Penny, Coventry

Very entertaining. Learnt the connection between facts I already knew and those that emerged during the performance.
John Adshead, Northwich Cheshire

Thank you for bringing the story of WW2 women working the waterways to life – very memorable and enjoyable. Great way of bringing history to children.